15 Dumb Movies Which Are Secretly Smart

5. Last Action Hero

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Columbia Pictures

Last Action Hero might be one of the most criminally underappreciated movies of the 1990s, an extremely ambitious satire of action movies and, indeed, Arnold Schwarzenegger himself which mostly fell upon deaf ears on initial release.

The problem was that Columbia Pictures marketed the movie as a straight-up action flick rather than leaning into its meta qualities, and as a result audiences and critics alike felt bamboozled by a film that was totally different.

And unless you're a big Arnie fan, you'd be forgiven for just assuming the movie was a braindead bust given how infrequently it's talked about among his back catalogue.

But it is a movie desperately in search of a critical re-evaluation, if only because it so brilliantly sends-up action movie tropes, while creating a genuinely involving buddy cop vibe on a stonking $85 million budget.

There are so many inspired, devilishly smart moments in this movie, from Arnie starring in a fake trailer for his own action-packed Hamlet adaptation, to a rental store standee featuring Sylvester Stallone starring in Terminator 2, and Arnie instinctively firing some bullets into his closet because "there's always a guy in there."

The world just wasn't ready for this movie in 1993, coming merely two years after T2, but more than 25 years (!) on, it endures as one of the most evocative, intelligent and boundary-pushing action-comedies of its decade.


Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes). General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.